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tv   [untitled]    July 16, 2013 8:00am-8:31am PDT

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effect and it is suggesting that employers do this, and if they do, they could better realize the economic impacts in a positive way, than he referred to and i want to end with that note and with that happy to answer any questions. commissioner dwight? >> great. thank you. >> actually before we get into the specifics, which there are a number of, i am curious, first of all about the motivation for putting this on the ballot, rather than working it through the regular process which would have a little more time and consideration, that i think it has pointed out to you significant flaws in the initial draft and you have made a great effort to address some of those. there are even more things, that we have put nr egan under
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the gun to get his office in order, and probably put off other things that were on his legislative calendar, and so, i'm just curious why the rush to take this to the ballot? >> sure, as i said before, i do wish that we had a little bit more time and we still do have time with regards to amendments to this and again, based on the feedback of the commission today it is my intention to offer the amendments when it is at the board of supervisors for the first time and as we consider this measure, part of the reason why we wanted to move forward with this as a ballot measure is that we wanted to have a more public conversation and a public education effort around these very issues. this is a policy that i think is worthy of adoption here in san francisco, and it is a policy that at a national level has already been attempted. but, because there have not been local or state jurisdictions that have adopted this, it has been harder to have a conversation about how
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we should accommodate and be more flexible to our working family and so i was asked by the national and state advocates to consider moving this forward as a ballot measure in order to have this public dialogue in san francisco. and as i said before, given how many employers already are doing this not all employers, but many are. i think that it is an opportunity for us to celebrate what many employers are doing and make sure that all employers are doing it and be an example to others in how we ought to do it. >> unfortunately because of the timing of the ballot, calendar, and if we had receive a draft on a monday and i needed to introduce it the next day and rather than wait a week. if i waited a week i not would have had the opportunity under the calendar to actually amend this ordinance and so i had to actually rush to introduce it so that we could change it if there issues that came up that led to the controversy that we are talking about right now. >> commissioner dooley?
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>> i wanted to ask about the minimum employees size? it seems like from the business community point of view, it is better to line this up with other states, city requirements and make it like with the healthcare an ordinance. 20 employees? would you consider that changed? >> so as i have told the small business leaders, i am very willing to consider that, if that is of import to this commission. we have chosen the ten employees threshold in part because as he pointed out, that threshold allows us to exempt the 85 percent to small businesses in san francisco that fall beyond that, or below that and it actually captures the vast majority of the employees and just so happens that threshold of ten employees does not capture the ten of the smaller businesses but it does
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capture 85 percent of the employees, that being said, i have heard the argument that we need to make it more consistent with the ordinance and i am willing to entertain that. >> that is what i wondered. when someone is granted this request, to have it schedule change, what is there some length of time or is it just open-ended? >> so, the legislation says that the request for flexible working arrangement would delean ate what you are asking to change and the length of time that you are asking to change for, but i will note two other things, we included language with the newest set of amendments that the change can be asked for twice a year and of course if they want to do it more often that is fine, but the requirement is at least twice a year unless there are major life events and the other thing that i will note is that there is a suggestion that what if the employer agreed and it is not work and there is language here tha, allows
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either the employee or the employer to terminate that flexible working arrangement within a few weeks if it is not working and then to restart the conversation again. >> so we really try to accommodate that. >> one more question. which is why such a throw threshold to permit these requests to eight hours a week seems very small to me. >> that is a standard that was actually proposed by i believe a meeting that we had with the small business advocates that came out of the healthcare and i believe that it came out of the healthcare security ordinance as a minimum for the workers to benefit from that law. >> commissioner riley? >> yes. as some say that we pointed out earlier that many of the employers already are doing this because it is a good practice, it is a win/win situation. >> so do you have a number, like a percentage of the employers that are not doing this? >> you know, it is really hard to say, i will tell you that in
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many of the meetings that many of the employers say that we already do it. what i think that we know nationally is that about a third of all of the employers are engaged in this type of an arrangement already but it has not permeated to the entire, to all employers, but we also know though that many who are appear are workers that are intimidated. and don't feel good about asking that of your boss or worried about keeping your job or a young law firm associate and you are worried about the promotions we have heard from folks who don't feel comfortable with that.
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whether you are a father wanting to spend more time with your kids or a mother trying to take care of your own mother who may be very sick, there are pressures and a little bit of a stigma when it comes to workplace flexibility, this is something that hillary clinton recently addressed in her first major domestic policy, this is partly why the members of congress have pushed this because within the issue of the workplaces this is becoming a bigger issue that the folks are trying to deal with and again, it is my hope that in san francisco, we can stand up as a model of how to do this and really celebrate how far a lot of our businesses have come. >> okay. >> any other commissioner questions before we go into public comment? >> you know, i have want to...
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>> commissioner o'brien? >> the count is to a year unless a major life event has occurred. and so, if a major life event has not occurred, can you give me an example of what a request will be based on? >> sure, what we said was that you can make a requests and you can make at least two requests during the year and the idea around the two is that we know that a lot of parents deal with the school time and schedules and have to deal with a different summer schedules and so we want to give them the opportunity to make those shifts. and the major life event, is defined in the ordinance, so again, if you have a child, if someone in your family goes sick, that could be a opportunity for you to go to your employer and say hey, i know that four months ago we asked for a schedule based on the school situation of our kids, but my dad just moved in with us and he is dying of cancer and we have to be able to take care of him.
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>> that was the rationale behind the numbers but again, open to feedback. >> i was just kind of trying to visualize the myriad of justified reasons for somebody requesting. >> i see. >> changing the schedule. >> i thought, okay, we have a major life event, which i understand is a birth or someone dying. and then i am just thinking, okay, outside of that, could you give me one, one would be a child schedule at school or something? >> so, again the ordinance defines care giving, and says that if you are parent that has a child or children for which you have responsibilities and if there is someone in your life for whom, or is an independent relationship with you and a serious medical condition or if you have an elderly parent over the age of 65, these constitute sort of
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care giving situations that you could use as a basis to ask your employers. >> so, you know, one of the flags that i have immediately is the potential for abuse. so, if the parent came and said that my son's school has changed their soccer training it is going to be on thursday instead of friday evenings >> maybe this is too specific for you to give an answer to. just to fashion this out. and could would that conceivablely be a care giving qualification that would make the employer have to adhere to that request? >> let me be clear, it could be the basis of a request. but it is not necessarily the basis for you to grant that request. so if you have an employee who
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kids are playing soccer and because of the schedules and the parents needing to drive around after work and need to leave early one day and able to stay later another day that could make that request of you. yes. and as they could if they need to take their kids to child care or daycare or to the medical or the doctor's apointment etc.. but you as the employer, if it turns out that you can't cover a shift or your customers and you have customer needs that you can't fill and if it turns out that it adds to your bottle line in any way you can actually deny that request. the whole point of this is to create a space for them to ask and have that conversation without the fear of discrimination or retaliation. >> okay. >> thank you. >> commissioner dooley? >> i have a question about the definition of familial relationship. i find that to be really broad. i mean does that include, you
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know, some families all live in a larger group. and so that would be allowed to request if you your aunt or your uncle or your cousin, i think that we should consider limiting it to just the spouse, the children and perhaps the parents. >> so i appreciate that question and that has been raised over the last few days and that is something that we will be discussing with the city attorney of how to tighten that, i think that the common sense definition of the nuclear family makes sense and by that i will refer to an individual and his or her spouse, siblings if they are living in that household, children or parents and i think that either grandkids and grand parents if that happens to be in that situation. again, i would like feedback on that but those definitions feel fairly, you know, people understand that sort of a layperson's understanding of one's close family. >> commissioner ortiz? >> president chiu, i want to
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say that i understand where the heart of this legislation and you passed many legislations that has the best feel for the city. so i want to thank you for that. i did have a question, coming in from my small business owner cap. and a this legislation ordinance and the measure passes and it works as intended is there any studies in jurisdictions where it is implemented of the administrative costs just the paperwork of you know everything works out and there is just a continual denying request because the people views and the business needs and especially a small business don't fit but the administrative costs don't have a department so it is probably the manager or the owner of the business and do to all of these requests and all of this paperwork. >> let me just say a couple of things that i have circulated to the fact sheet. there are studies of the
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experience of the countries that have been commissioned by the chambers of commerce and the other business organization and other countries have shown that the benefits have been, very positive, and the administrative costs have been extremely low, for example, the percentage of complaints brought against the employees have been extremely small. and by and large, when you create a safe space for an employee and an employer to have this conversation, the right type of conversation happens and the type that conversation that commissioner o'brien said that the soccer schedules are changing because of the fall, those often lead to good places. and when we talk about specifically what is in the administrative burden, it is as follows, if i worked for you, i give you a piece of paper on day one that says hey, commissioner, i would love to shift my hours, i would like to go part time for the summer. you have a couple of weeks to give me back another sheet of paper that says, either i accept this, or i could work with it under these parameters or i deny it because we just don't have anyone to cover that
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shift. if i get that second piece of paper back and i don't like that answer, i say, hey, commissioner could we sit down and talk about it. >> that is the administrative burden and that is what many employers do. whether we should give the administrative burdens on the smaller business and should we raise it from ten to 20 employees, when you get to 20 employees you have more of an hr structure and willing to consider that if that is something that is important to the commission. >> commissioner o'brien? >> yeah, i was interested to note that if it goes to an appeal that after they make the decision that the hearing officer and it seems like it is deliberate and it does not have
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to be an attorney or labor expert. >> it is an officer that will be well versed in these issues which is how more of these proceedings take place any way. so it would be someone who is sensitive to the various labor and unemployment laws that we have. >> okay. >> any other questions? >> i am going to open it up to public comment. >> i want to thank the commission for consideration and i am going to sit down and have my own thoughts and comments about it. >> members of the public i have a list of speaker cards, and if i will call the names in the order of the speaker cards that i have and once we call all of the cards we will have the opportunity to folks to line up on the side and take
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everybody's name and a public comment will be limited to three minutes. there is a timer, and i will start calling the names. emma bryant. >> julia, perish, and henry, coleowitz, mark, climan and steven cornel. >> and if you can, state your name when you start speaking so that i can make sure that i have the right person. >> my name is emma and i work with the department on the status of women and before beginning the work with the department i had the sunset san francisco was losing many of its families, growing up in the city myself, i watched as many of my friends packed their bags and moved to bay area suburbs with their families. i remember over hearing our family friends telling my mom that it was just not possible
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to live here with kids me more. i was fortunate enough to have two loving parents, who had the flexibility to be at home for me when i needed them. my mother being a psychologist and a private practice, was able to choose her own schedule. allowing for her to pick me up right after school. >> if for some reason she needed to work late my dad a professor at sky line schedule could leave work early to take care of me. this afforded me many advantages, i was able to go from school to soccer practice and dance because my parents could give me a ride and i did not burn myself on the stove because my parents were there to monitor me. >> it was normal and it took me a few years to realize that this was not the case in most house holds, although it is true that it does not work for every occupation, there are countless benefits for employers who do adopt flexibility.
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my parents freedom to chose when they worked meant that the employers could count on them because they could stick with their jobs as opposed to having to jump around as i know that many of my friends parents did. this lifestyle has allowed us to stay in san francisco for my entire life. my hope is that the ordinance will give more families the option of staying in this beautiful city. that i think we should find a way to make this be the new norm for everyone, all people deserve to have these options if possible for businesses. >> julia parish and i am a attorney in our work and family project. we get the calls from people struggling with caring obligation and jobs and, too
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often they are forced to choose between the family and jobs and this is true for low wage workers who lack access to flexbility and sometimes the opportunity or courage to make these kinds of requests from their employers. there are laws that provide time off from work there are not any kind of laws that allow care givers to access workplace flexibility and predictbility that they need. it has changed in the model where there is someone at home to take the children to school and to juggle medical care for an elderly relative is just a thing of the past and we need to catch up. a recent caller to the help line from san francisco was trying to navigate her return to work with her care for her newborn baby. she was not eligible for any more time off from work, her baby was two months old and she needed to stay and leave work
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earlier one day a week than she had in the past and the employer refused to discuss this option with her and she tried to offer to stay later on a different day, and she needed to align care giving for her infant with her other family members that could help to care for her. and she was crushed that she was unable to work this out with the employer and had to go through a struggle managing her transition back to work with such a young child. other countries have implemented provisions like this one helping millions of parents make requests for flexibility that they need such as alternative work days, part time or tele commuting, when employers and employees have to sit down together and think about a solution for a problem it benefits everyone and they can come up with great ideas, and great solutions and they know their work schedules and their businesses and it is really a wonderful idea for everyone to facilitate this kind of conversation that allows everyone to meet the needs. the flexibility is not the only need that the care givers face
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or is addressed by this measure, some are forced to accept unpredictable schedules and this makes it difficult to arrange for quality child care or care giving needs when you don't have any advanced notice of when you will be required to work. >> familiaritilies workplace policy recognizes these vital needs of the care givers in san francisco and i believe in the society that we strongly support this and i want to thank supervisor chiu. >> and members of the public if i could remind you to please turn your cell phones and electronic devices on silent please? >> welcome. >> good evening, commissioners, (inaudible) president of the merchant associations. i just have ordered today, with the worker's comp person, and she said that you know what, we have just cut off a lot of jobs and people are now working from home and there is actually looking at why don't you get your work done at home and then
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and go do your order td once you leave the home and rather than going to an office and or to an office and it is sort of a preferable way to do it. and so, with the flexibility, and with the companies however, you have to look at, the construction industry and in particular, with, you know, it is really hard to predict, what is going to happen next week. if it is starts to rain, well, then, sorry, i do need need you, you can't have the time off. i think that we are all for, you know, the right to ask. and there is no repercussions on that and no retribution and i think that is really important. so we really have to think at that part of it and otherwise, for many people, in the small business world, this does come to be a very burdensome legislation that will impact and also what it does and equal playing field and what happens to the people that are not in the city and then i am going to fall under this and they are could say that we don't want to work in staoet and we will move
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the office to the city or south of san francisco. and lastly, a lot of the employees that work for particularly in the construction industry and also the restaurant industry, are not from here and most live out of town. and they live in freemo*nt and pleasant and okay land and all over the place and they don't live in the city, and just from the folks that i have talked to in the county. however, we are for the right to ask, and that is important. thank you. >> next speaker please? >> good evening, commissioners, my name is mark, along with my wife we run the pet camp and over night daycare facilitis for dogs and cats in san francisco and also a member of the small business advocate and co-chair of the chamber of
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commerce, i along with my wife and four children actually live in san francisco, certainly wish that my wife could have been here tonight but a 5:30 meeting started and family friendly it conflicts with the kid's dinners, it is self-evident that san francisco is not family friendly, and this is anything that any parent could have pointed out. there are million of things in san francisco could do to be more family friendly unfortunately this is not one of them. this is drafted as being more family friendly as an employee employer issue. it is clear that the majority of businesses already have this and we want to meet their needs and be as accommodating as possible, whether it is a care giver's schedule for a parent
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or a kid or even as a student who has changing schedules at sfstate or a city. and it is not a problem. and so, as such it is really unclear what this ordinance was intended to do. there are still concerns, people have said that it is rushed and unclear who is covered by this, if you work in san francisco, no matter where the company is based, if your company is based in san francisco, no matter where you employ or work, do you have to be both san francisco base and do the work in san francisco? and more importantly from my perspective, if this is supposed to make san francisco more family friendly, it should only apply to employees who are san francisco residents. there is also the issues of what reasonable notice is to reduce shifts. and the possibilities of disputes about that. what is reasonable notice in one industry or one business is fundamentally different than what it might be in the next. my personal business we can predict a couple of days out, if you are a painter you may not be able to predict until
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the morning and that is going to create uncertainty and burdens, if the goal was to create a safe space and a right to ask, let's focus on creating that. no one is going to object to someone saying to me i want a flexibility schedule or i need to change something could we have a conversation about that. that is reasonable. >> but the rest of it creates unfair burdens on small businesses and i urge you as it is currently drafted to reject the ordinance, thank you. >> thank you. >> following this speaker, rich gun, rafty burtking. >> michelle pliner? >> good evening, steven cornel and i owned a business for 37 years, 108-year-old business. and i think that i know a little bit about dealing with employees but tonight i am going to be talking as a member of the small business advocates. we have big problems with this.
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the biggest problem, of course, is the rush. we always want to be in front of legislation, we want to be part of legislation, we don't want to be the nay sayers afterwards. this legislation is rushed. one thing that we would like is to put it off until next june, that all of us can get in there and come up with some legislation that works for all of us. given that, here are some of the problems that we have. it is only for san francisco businesses. it is put us in an unfair position, let the playing field... part me, we have heard that this is wonderful in england and australia, and this is san francisco. it is 49 square miles. we are in a competition with people in oakland and those people will come in here and they do come in here now. so it is not the same. we are not talking england and
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we are not talking new zealand, we are talking san francisco. and we have a problem with the definition of number of employees. is it just the san francisco employees? or is just in the total number of employees throughout the united states? it should be consistent with the other legislation. we have. a lot of the legislation says number of employees in the whole united states whether it is one employees or 50 somewhere else and they come under the minimum. we as a group will not oppose this legislation if it boils down to employees have a right to request time off or change in their schedule without retaliation. that is what we would like for this is something that good businesses do all of the time. you have heard that. we do that. and having that legislation, legislated is what we would like, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> next speaker, please?
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>> hi, my name is rich gun and i am a cpa in san francisco. my firm is (inaudible) and we have 200 employees and i have clients that are all over the city from bay view, out to the great highway and, practically every neighborhood. and i talked with them about this potential legislation and what they think of it and a lot of people were angry. and i didn't understand their anger at the beginning because when i asked them about their practices? and i have observed their practices and i always thought that they had a very flexible work arrangement and were very generous to their employees in these situations they were angry that someone at the city hall wants to sit behind their desk and dictate how they do their job and dictate how they run their business and when i have the potential clients from outside of california and outside of the country who talk about where she should open up the united states operation and ask me about